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Loveland Pass, one the highest road in Colorado.

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Loveland Pass

The Loveland Pass is one of the highest mountain passes in Colorado. Situated near Denver it used to be a strategic route to the west before the opening of the Eisenhower Tunnel. Today it remains a beautiful itinerary that attracts lots of tourists every day as it is a destination perfect road trip in Colorado.

Where is the Loveland Pass located?

The route is situated in the Rocky Mountains in Colorado, about 100 kilometers (60 miles) to the west of Denver city. It will take you about one hour to drive there from Denver.

It deserves several ski resorts but is also an alternative if you are driving the interstate 70, the route being more scenic.

You can situate the road on the map below:


Enlarge the map

Some information about the Loveland Pass.

Road description:

The Loveland Pass peaks on Highway 6 and is 3655 meters (11990 feet) high. It is an asphalted road in overall good condition.

The average gradient of the road that climbs to the Pass is about 6,7%. The portion that avoids the Eisehner tunnel is about 31 kilometers (20 miles) long.

You will find parking spots on the top if you decide to take a break at the summit to enjoy the view.

The pass is situated near the Continental divide that separates the water lines that will sink in the Atlantic or the Pacific Oceans.

Loveland Pass in winter
Loveland Pass during winter

History

The Loveland Pass takes its name after the president of the Colorado Central Railroad, William Loveland. The city of Loveland in Larimer County of Colorado also has his name.

This road opened in 1919 and remains the main road between Denver and Georgetown before the construction of the Eisenhower Tunnel that opened in 1973. Today this part of the road is considered as a touristic section, but also used in order to access some ski or hiking paths.

The road and its area are also known for some tragic accidents. In addition that the road is quite dangerous when the weather conditions are bad. There were two major incidents there: In 2013 an avalanche killed a group of 5 snowboarders and in 1970, there was a plane crash were up to 40 people were killed.

How to get to Loveland Pass?

The Loveland Pass is situated on US Highway 6. The portion of the road where the Loveland Pass is located between the exit 216 of the interstate 70 and Keystone.

If you drive from Denver (for example to Aspen), you should take the west direction by driving the interstate 70 in Georgestown direction. In the same way, you have to take the interstate 70 in Denver direction if you drive from west to est.

You can easily find the itinerary of the drive on this map:

What to do near the Loveland Pass?

The Pass is located in an area when you can practice many activities, hiking during the summer season, and skiing during winter. Here are some places near the road when you can enjoy some outdoor activities:

  • Ski resorts: There are a lot of ski resorts in the area here are the most known: Loveland Ski Area (with the Loveland Seanson Ski Pass), Keystone Resort, or the Arapahoe Basin Ski Area. A lot of people also back skiing directly from the Loveland Pass.
  • Biking: There are a lot of trails for mountain biking in the cited ski resorts. If you are more a road bike user you should definitely climb the Loveland pass itself!
  • Hiking and Climbing: You will also find many trails and ways in the ski resorts but also in the area. During the summer, one of the well-known trails is the path from the Loveland Pass to Mount Sniktau.
  • You can also go to the Dillon Reservoir and have different activities depending on the season. For example, there are ice castles during the winter or fishing in spring and summer.

A preview of the drive:

Either if you are planning to drive the Loveland Pass or not, you should watch this video to know how the weather conditions could be bad on this road, and decide if you are enough experimented or not to drive there:

As you can see the drive can be very difficult, and we advise you to check the weather before planning your trip, especially during winter time.

Is the Loveland Pass open?

The road is generally open all year round. Nevertheless, as it is a mountain road it can be frequently closed during winter because of weather conditions.

Keep in mind that if the road is safe in summer and attracts many visitors, in winter it is a dangerous road, snowstorms, and slippery road.

During winter time it can be mandatory to have snow tires or to have snow chains. This rule is even more important for 2WD (Two Wheel Drive) cars.

You can check the road conditions on this website.

If you are driving from Denver to the west and want a scenic route, you definitely should avoid taking the Eisenhower Tunnel. Instead of that, drive the alternative alpine road that passes through the Loveland Pass. You will enjoy majestic landscapes and won’t regret your choice! But pay attention to the fact that the road can be dangerous. Fast-changing weather conditions (it can snow even in August!) and many hairpin turns have no security guardrails are just two examples.


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